All the Information

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / NoHier / Deschooling /

All Information, 2005.2.6 draft

All Information. What can that possibly mean?
I mean public information. I mean voluntary information: not coerced. I mean information that an individual wants to advertise: information that doesn’t trespass on anything private.

Could there be such a thing? Could any two people not disagree as to what it is?
It’s thirty-five years now that I’ve been talking about this publicly and I’m still not sure I’ve done it right. Indeed, I fear I’ve done it wrong; so I try again today.

Ideas of what is whose business differ with culture, with theological tradition, with age …

The history of civilization is in part a cresting wave of Authority interfered with by little wavelettes of Independence. Once upon a time individuals tried their magic to control their destiny. Individuals came to not trust their magic, so they transferred their belief to the shaman. The shaman transferred it to a god. Monotheism called the god God and tried to transfer all Authority to the God. Then along came nations: substituting the State for God.

Once upon a time individuals thought they had their own minds. Then God knew your mind better than you did. And then came Richelieu: the Gestapo, the KVD, the CIA …

In 1970, in founding the Free Learning Exchange, Inc., I was trying to push us into a Global Village, one without a Gestapo. Now I’m not sure that a global village is a good idea. The idea of human culture colonizing the galaxy repels me. The universe might be best left fallow. The natural war between gods should continue, no one entity winning.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) it’s not up to me. (But I push a little here, I cheer a little there.)

We are multi-celled creatures. Social creatures. We are creatures of this and that niche. We are not planetary, we are not galactic, we are not universal. We have enough ganglia feedback to initiate a little bit of consciousness; self-consciousness; sentience: just a little bit.

The contents of the diaper is the mother’s business: temporarily. Temporarily, it’s the mother’s business more than the baby’s business. At what point do the contents of the diaper become the Kremlin’s business? If the whole society is worrying about the health of some prince, isn’t something wrong? Is the contents of the peasant’s diaper ever the Kremlin’s business?

Each age will draw its lines in different places. (Each age will imagine that it’s the one that counts!) (Just as we imagine that our god is the important one: our state.)

I don’t draw my lines in 2005 in quite the same places that I drew them in 1970. Still: few attributed significance to my 1970 lines in 1970. In 2005, while drawing new lines, I’m still trying to show my 1970 lines: to show that something went terribly wrong (as usual), that 1970 offered us an ark that we ignored (and then perverted). I suggest that we’d have been better off in 2005 had we boarded my ark note: instead of being led by the nose by Time-Life, by MaBell, by Washington DC, by IBM, by the school system …

All Information

All Information. I mean volunteered information: information volunteered by an individual to be made public.

My name is Paul. My profession is English. My profession is also liberty. My email is linked from the left hand side of the frame at the bottom of your browser window [domain version destroyed by fed 2007 02, now it’s just a blog] (if you entered Deschooling through it’s main entrance).

The color of the girl’s areola is not the boy’s business — until the girl shows it to him: or until the girl permits the boy’s independent explorations. At no point is the color of the girl’s areola the state’s business. At no point is it the boy’s business if his explorations aren’t welcomed by the girl.

pk these days offers his comments online (as he once did through the Free Learning Exchange). Anyone is welcome to find pk’s comments and make of them what they will: ignoring them, praising them, recommending them, abandoning them … pk’s comments are not mandatory.

Individuals should consider making themselves independent enough to similarly accept or ignore the state’s mandates.

I don’t say it’s easy. The state has monopolized the electro-magnetic spectrum for a huge geographical area. Individuals have permitted the state this monopoly. The state’s ambitions would fail if enough individuals resisted.
The state doesn’t work alone. Individuals should become alert to parallel cartels.

Look for fallow land. Respect the land’s fallowness. Look for fallow societies, respect their fallowness. When all land is developed, all societies satellite, expect the super-society to crash.

I would have better hopes for a super-society that had self-formed; not been politically (and militarily) fiated.

more as I get to it. There will never be an end to this discussion.

An Arc of Arks:
2005 03 14 fury has just asked after the significance of pk’s spelling “ark” as “arc.” She even offered a good explanation. But I’ll confess in the style of Dr. Johnson after one of his mistakes was exposed: Why? Sheer ignorance!
Though Illich refers to the “Arc of Mankind”!
All the Information, 2005 4/7 draft

Once upon a time any individual would acquire information, any group would acquire information. The group inevitably would encourage the propagation of some information among its members; discourage other information. With civilization the group went into runaway.

By “all information” I don’t mean to suggest that humans are or will ever be competent to archive all information: I doubt that any god could. What I mean by “all” is “not artificially limited” (socially: politically, religiously).

Once upon a time any individual spoke an idiolect. A family spoke a language to some extent mutually intelligible to all members. The larger society had a still wider, necessarily fuzzier, language. Et cetera. In the 1700s AD dictionaries began appearing. In the mid-1800s a new project appeared: a dictionary that would represent the whole English language! Not just approved words, not just good words … All words. It was first published in the early 1900s: the OED: the Oxford English Dictionary. Amazing. A first. Civilization has always kept records: but it was always “how much wheat is in the royal barn?”

2016 09 22 A son or grandson of that society may morph the question to “how much weat do we want to say is in the barn?” Primitive societies may be wrong, but they don’t lie; all modern socieites lie: to their public, to themselves, to their their backers, their bankers …

Once upon a time the Church kept records. The libraries were called monasteries. With the Renaissance, secular libraries proliferated. They were called universities. The monasteries kept the holy writings; the universities kept the vulgar writings: Virgil, Ovid … of which more and more was being dug up.
“Public” libraries appeared in the Victorian Age. But they were always selected for the public, paid for by rich people; never by the public, paid for by the public. And not one has ever been complete.

(Modern governments have a dodge that taxes are paid by the public for the public. Is it true? Is the money really volunteered?)

In 1970 pk’s FLEX offered to store and render retrievable — to anyone — all information volunteered by the public as “public.” Initially the intent was to establish learning webs in New York City. Spontaneously, other learning webs were being offered in other locales. pk hoped to coordinate all of them, making an inter-web, adding more and more types of public information services, until, for the first time, the human world had an un-censorable universal public information system: a complete library.

Today Deschooling’s Mission is to gather pk’s writings on this subject — information in the sense of documents, public records — into one easily accessible place (also offering explanations as why it didn’t quite happen). To date those writings, those coded for HTML at least, have gathered under the heading of FLEX / FIX (deschooling, free information exchange). Now I’m reorganizing everything (again): distinguishing as clearly as I can among information as theory (Macroinformation), information in its usual sense of documents, records (Deschooling), and other pk information ( New modules on the subject will go here. All FLEX modules will be moved here. pk’s information theory belongs at Macroinformation. All other pk writing generalizes as

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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